Monday, December 6, 2010

Homemade Cocoa, a Fun Holiday Gift Project To Make with Children!

Kieran (who's our favorite Modern as she's responsible for our existence), has kindly shared with us a charming treat to give to the neighbors and teachers at Christmas. She's made this with the children since they were very small--because it's so diverting to dump the ingredients into a large bowl, stir with a large wooden spoon, and then scoop the custom-made cocoa into cellophane treat bags!

1 package (25.6 oz) nonfat dry milk powder
6 cups miniature marshmallows
1 container (16 oz.) instant cocoa mix for milk (such as Ghirardelli's Premium Hot Cocoa Mix "Double Chocolate"--or Archer Farms brand at Target, which is only 12 oz, so buy more)
1 jar malted milk powder--if you've never seen it before, it's white powder in a glass jar found right next to the Nestle's Quick chocolate milk powder on your grocery store shelf
1 cup sifted confectioner's sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt 

In an enormous bowl (Kieran actually uses her roasting pan), combine dry milk, marshmallows, cocoa mix, malted milk powder, confectioners sugar, creamer, and salt; stir until well blended. Store in airtight container in a cool place. Give with serving instructions.

Yield: about 20 cups mix (10 gifts)

To serve: Pour 6 ounces hot water over 1/3 cup cocoa mix; stir until well-blended.

Recipe originated in It's In the Bag! Tasty Gifts in Crafty Sacks, published by Leisure Arts, Inc., 1997.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Beatrice's Autumn Apple Crisp

About 4 medium, peeled, sliced, tart apples (Granny Smith)
3/4 c. firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 c. flour
1/2 c. oats
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/3 c. softened butter

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Butter a square baking pan. Place the apple slices in the pan. Mix remaining ingredients and sprinkle over the apples. Bake 30 minutes or until apples are tender and topping is golden brown. Serve either hot or cold~pour thick cream over the top or serve with ice cream. Serves six.

Poppy's Top Ten List of Favorite Modern Dance Songs & a Rambling Tale about the Romantics

It's a different world for you Moderns! But I'm so enjoying learning about it. In particular, I like your music. Of course, on dull days, I take a good gallop in Hyde Park to revive my flagging spirits. Or I cram a lovely forkful of Beatrice's apple crisp into my mouth (when no one's looking) and wash it down with a cup of scalding tea. You Moderns, on the other hand, often turn to the small rectangle called the iPod for a boost. And no wonder! It's a marvel!

Here are some of my favorite Modern dance tunes culled from author Kieran Kramer's iPod. She assures me that when she was writing about me and my friends and family, these are the very tunes she listened to. She also informed me (while she danced/gyrated all alone--and quite clumsily--in front of several long mirrors she installed in her loft to make it look like a "disco") that she wouldn't mind a bit my sharing them with you:

1) Short Skirt/Long Jacket by Cake
2) Gold Digger (Glee cast version)
3) Bust a Move (Glee cast version)
4) Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough by Michael Jackson
5) Play That Funky Music by Wild Cherry
6) What I Like About You by the Romantics*
7) Into the Groove by Madonna
8) Holiday by Madonna
9) New Shoes by Paolo Nutini
10) Wrapped Up in You by Garth Brooks

*She did say to tell you that long ago she and her little sister Devon danced like bohemians in front of the Romantics and thusly, the band invited them backstage to their Green Room, where Kieran and Devon obligingly went and noshed on various appetizers. But when one of the Romantics nuzzled Devon's ear and asked if she and her sister would return with the gentlemen to their hotel rooms, Devon responded, "No, you pig!" and slapped the lout's arm. Kieran explained further, "We're teachers."

Any teacher will know exactly what Kieran was talking about!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Eleanor's Favorite Flower Arrangement

Simple and sweet, perfect for an autumn table. And an excellent way for you Moderns to recycle your aluminum cans:

Thursday, July 22, 2010

An Open Letter to Avid Readers of Romance from Poppy's Aunt Charlotte

My dear friends,

Welcome to my splendiferous Spinster world!

You'll soon find out when you read Dukes to the Left of Me, Princes to the Right that, yes, I'm of a certain age, but no, it makes not a jot of difference when it comes to catching a man's eye. Just ask Kettle, our gorgeous butler, or the chimney sweep here on Clifford Street (he's got a wink that will melt your bones), or Lord Frederick Burns. Freddie is my secret lover and is an awful flirt, just like me, which is why we do so well together. Just last night in his carriage--

Well. Perhaps I shouldn't say here what Freddie and I did! A Spinster retains a bit of mystery about herself, always.

My point is not that I like men and am, in turn, much admired by them myself. I'm here to tell you that I am a Spinster, which means I conduct all my affairs with the opposite sex on my terms--not theirs!

And so should you.



A Spinster never compromises. Which is why she's a Spinster, of course. One should be proud to stick to one's principles. And the overriding principle of the Spinster is that she would rather be burned at the stake than marry a man she doesn't love!

All right, perhaps I'm taking that a bit far, but you know what I mean. A Spinster would rather live in a garret and earn her own bread as a seamstress or tutor or governess or even mistress than marry (shudder) where her heart is not inclined to beat with fervor and passion and all those delicious feelings that come with being in love!

In the delectable story you'll shortly be reading about my niece Poppy, you'll see several Spinsters, including moi, in action. I hope you'll gain courage from mine and Poppy's example. Nicholas may be a fine specimen of a man, but Poppy is a Spinster! He's not quite prepared for her impudence and derring-do (poor man). I'm glad to say Poppy isn't one to fall head over heels in love lightly. Nor is Nicholas. So their tale is quite interesting. I hope you enjoy it.

Do feel free to post comments about Dukes to the Left of Me, Princes to the Right here. I think Poppy and her two Spinster best friends, Eleanor and Beatrice, will be contributing something to this page as well. Until the book comes out at the end of November, I shall have to content myself by flirting with Freddie (he's asked me to marry him eighteen times) and writing up new Spinster laws, such as the one I thought of just yesterday: a Spinster never apologizes for someone else's bad behavior.

Until then, enjoy yourselves, ladies!